Orlando police officer Alison Clarke, who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder following the Pulse nightclub massacre, was granted disability retirement and a lifelong pension on Thursday. Clarke reportedly cried as she embraced her wife, fellow OPD Officer Kate Graumann, and her friends after the hearing. Police pension board members reportedly voted unanimously on the decision. “Now I feel like I’ve come to a conclusion and I can start moving on with the next chapter of my life,” Clarke said. The officer was nearly fired from the department in November after her application had been pending for 180 days—the time limit set for the agency’s union contract for officers to either win their pension or be terminated. Clarke, instead, was offered during a November meeting to take unpaid leave. “I’ve given everything that I can give to this department and I didn’t want to go out with anything less than a retirement,” she said, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Doctors declared Clarke “psychiatrically disabled” after she responded to the massacre, saying she was “totally and permanently disabled from serving in any first responder capacity.” She reportedly continued working as an officer for more than a year after the 2016 mass shooting at Pulse, which prompted her to seek psychiatric help. The shooting, which was the deadliest incident against the LGBTQ community in history, left 49 people killed and 53 others wounded.